Nischal Shetty, founder and CEO of Indian crypto exchange WazirX, has an ambitious goal of building an "infinitely scalable" blockchain and serving billions of users.
To that end, Shetty has unveiled his new project named Shardeum, in collaboration with former NASA engineer Omar Syed. Shardeum is building an Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible blockchain using the sharding technique.
Sharding, as the name suggests, helps split blockchain infrastructure into smaller pieces in an attempt to scale the network. Sharding essentially helps increase block space for more transactions and reduces gas fees.
Several blockchain projects, including Ethereum 2.0, NEAR, Harmony One, and Zilliqa, are working on implementing or have implemented sharding techniques for their networks.
Shetty told The Block in an interview that Shardeum’s unique advantage is that its base protocol layer has already been built, and now a smart contract platform is getting developed. Shardus, where Syed works as a blockchain architect, has built the base protocol.
Shardeum’s alphanet is scheduled to launch by April, betanet in the third quarter of this year, and mainnet towards the end of the fourth quarter of this year.
Shetty further said that Shardeum will be an open project; anyone can join as a validator and help decentralize the network. Shardeum aims to support a million transactions per second, said Shetty, as opposed to thousands of transactions per second by current fast blockchains.
But the layer-1 blockchain space is already competitive, so how will Shardeum attract developers and users? Shetty said the project's open-source approach, tokenomics, and technology will help build a strong community.
Shardeum plans to keep a majority of its native token SHARD (SHM) for the community, including validators and developers, said Shetty. The project also looks to raise funds from venture firms, but those investors or the Shardeum team won't hold a large amount of tokens, Shetty added.
He declined to share how much Shardeum is looking to raise but said it intends to raise enough to be competitive. Earlier this month, the NEAR Foundation raised $150 million in a private token sale from high-profile investors, including Three Arrows Capital, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Jump Capital, and Alameda Research.
Shardeum's immediate priorities include setting up a foundation, releasing a whitepaper, raising funds, and expanding its team. There are currently around 20 people working for Shardeum in the US and India, and Shetty plans to increase the team size to around 75.
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